For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS HURON 281
Built by Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel, Huron was commissioned on 16 Dec 1972. The Huron actually got her start two days early because of the ice conditions in the St Lawrence. Commissioning divisions were short and cold, -20 with a strong north wind. When we came down the river we needed ice breaker assistance to get by Quebec City. Also the supply sys failed the ship in that we were not issued modern weather jackets, believe it or not they were from WW2. When we entered Halifax they played Snow bird over the upper deck speakers. 1973 was full of ships trials machinery, sound, weapons etc. However each ship was given a first in class trial to be done. Huron was chosen to do helicopter trials because CDR Heitzman was the only one of the original CO's with DDH experience; he had been CO of Margaree. 1974 was a whole new ball game, we sailed Jan 1974 for down south for exercises with the USN, returning to slackers mid-Mar 1974. Early Apr 1974 we sailed for the Mediterranean with Iroquois and Preserver. This is when the Lisbon thing happened (The Portuguese Revolution). After Lisbon we exercised with the USN Med Fleet off the southern tip of Italy. Ports were Naples and Barcelona, returning to Halifax mid-Jun 1974. In mid-Jul 1974 Huron sailed for NATO - the first 280 on that deployment until mid-Dec 1974. In early 1975, we sailed to carry out missile firings off Roosevelt Roads, PR (aka Roosey Roads). This involved tracking trials using the CF9. Because of there limited fuel range they would have had to fly over Cuba. We could not get the over flight clearance we had to work out of Key West for three weeks. For the rest of the year did Ex SAFE PASS and a refit. We sailed in early Jan 1976 for WUPS and exercises out of Roosey Roads. Did another Ex SAFE PASS from Mayport, Florida up the coast ending just off Halifax. Huron sailed for second NATO early Jul 1976. While in Kiel, Huron's crew conducted a 3-week self-maintenance routine. On sailing from Kiel, the NATO SQN was transiting the Kattegat at night at high speeds. The NATO SQN had been dispatched to intercept the Russian air craft carrier Kiev that had broken out of the Black Sea and the Med with her escorts and was heading north. At that time she was one of Russia's latest and newest. During the transit, we (they believe) ran over a shoal, tore off the under water telephone and took 2 or 3 large chunks off the props. I had just finished Petty Officer of the Watch for the first watch and had just got my head down when we hit what ever it was. The noise below deck was terrifyingly loud. Immediately every one was dressed and running to emergency stations, but no pipe was ever made so we all kind of milled around expecting some sort of answer to what had just happened, heard nothing so everyone resumed the horizontal. Sometime before we entered Oslo for a port visit, the sonar world reported something wrong with the underwater telephone. Divers were sent down in harbour, Joe Arsenault was one of them, he was a WU, and when they surfaced he said "what telephone?" That's when they carried out a full bottom search and found chunks missing from the props. They Navigation Officer was the OOW when it happened. A board of inquire was held on run to slackers and he wore it all. As often happens during episodes like this rumours abound. The best one was we hit a small East German sub (there were many operating in these areas). As the story goes we hit the subs sail with the section of the hull around the underwater telephone knocking it over and when it was back up right we hit it again with the screws. The supposed shoal we hit, if you looked at the chart, was really hard to see and was extremely small. Huron had to leave the SQN early and return Halifax for repairs. Admiral Boyle was pissed of that we had sustained damage and couldn't finish NATO; he tied Huron up along Halifax for approx 6 weeks before allowing us to be repaired. Early 77 I was drafted ashore to CSD as 5"54 instructor. (submitted by James Ron Anderson)
Huron represented Canada at the Silver Jubilee Naval Review at Spithead on 28 Jun 1977, and in 1981 carried Governor-General Edward Schreyer on a tour of five Scandinavian ports. On 12 Mar 1980, HMCS Margaree and HMCS Huron rescued the crew of the stricken M.V. Maurice Desgagnes (see photos in the gallery for HMCS Margaree). Later in her career, she was transferred to Esquimalt, BC. She served on MARPAC missions protecting Canada's sovereignty in the Pacific Ocean and enforced Canadian laws in its territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone. Huron was also deployed on missions throughout the Pacific and to the Indian Ocean; specifically the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea on anti-terrorism operations. Huron has a port visit, along with Kootenay 258 and Annapolis 265 at Vladivostok, Russia from 03 to 07 Jun 1990. In the winter of 1991 Huron was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation FRICTION, the CF's contribution to Operation DESERT STORM (the Gulf War) to replace her sister ship HMCS Athabaskan as flagship of the Canadian Naval Task Group. Huron arrived after hostilities ceased and patrolled for several months before returning to Esquimalt. Huron was deployed to the Adriatic Sea in 1993 in support of the United Nations naval embargo of the former Yugoslavia. On 15 Jul 1993, Huron began her TRUMP refit at Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel, Que. In 1999 Huron intercepted a civilian ship smuggling illegal migrants off the coast of British Columbia. Paid off on 31 Mar 2005, she was sunk as an exercise target ship 14 May 2007 during Operation TRIDENT FURY, a live-fire exercise conducted by MARPAC 100 km (54.0 mi) west of Vancouver Island.
The 5"54 cal gun on the 280s were named after the Oto Melara technicians who built and did the FSR work in Canada. The names for the guns were as follows: Iroquois - Pasquale, Huron - Tulio, Athabaskan - Leno and Algonquin - Luigi.
HMCS Huron - Commissioning Booklet
HMCS Huron Day Sail - Video
HMCS Huron at the Ammo Jetty - Video